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Big labor group backs Bergeson for schools’ chief; more than 1/3 of the Legislature backs Dorn…

In a coup for incumbent superintendent of public instruction Terry Bergeson, the state Labor Council endorsed her yesterday at the group's annual convention in Vancouver.

The state teachers' union, the Washington Education Association, is supporting a challenger, Randy Dorn.

(Locally, the Labor Council also endorsed legislative District 9 candidate Tanya Kelley, a Democrat, and a "limited endorsement" for the Green Party's Chris Winter in the same district.)

Today, Bergeson's likely strongest opponent fired back. Dorn, a union head and former lawmaker, said he now has the backing of 50 Washington state lawmakers, from Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, to Rep. Brendan Williams, D-Olympia.

There are quite a few Republicans on Dorn's side, too -- at least partly an indication of the simmering bipartisan unhappiness with the high-stakes Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) test that Bergeson supports. Among them: Vancouver's Don Benton, Richland's Jerome Delvin and Shirley Hankins, Ritzville's Mark Schoesler and Moses Lake's Judy Warnick.

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